Replica and nonreplica digital single issues are eligible as AAM circulation units if they are restricted-access and comply with AAM rules.
Digital single issues, available on a variety of platforms, are eligible as AAM circulation units if they are restricted-access (require download or log-in) and comply with AAM Rule C 2.4 Separate Editions.
For AAM reporting purposes, the two types of digital subscriptions are:
- Replica - consistent with the print edition in layout, editorial and advertising content. It may exclude FSI advertising (free-standing inserts) and include updated news content or additional advertising.
- Nonreplica - consistent in character and editorially homogeneous with the print edition, but advertising may differ.
Single digital issues purchased for at least one cent, net of considerations, are eligible as paid digital single issues. See AAM Rule C 1.1 Paid Circulation Defined.
- One-day access to a newspaper’s restricted website
- One-day access to a replica digital edition
- Single issue sale of a priced phone or tablet app of the newspaper
- Single issue sale of a priced eReader copy of the newspaper
Digital single issues of the same newspaper sold in a bundle together, or with print, are eligible as paid digital single issues if the following requirements are met:
- Copies claimed as paid are presented as “included” in the package price. Note: Copies presented or implied as free to the consumer are only eligible as qualified single issues.
- The consumer is either presented with incremental pricing for each copy or proof of access is available. See AAM Rule C 5.10 Subscriptions Involving Digital Editions.
- Single Copy Incremental Pricing
Incremental pricing means each paid copy is independently chosen by the consumer and presented at a cost of at least 5 percent above the highest priced issue (print being default if included in package). For the audit, the media used to present consumers with incremental pricing must be retained for review by AAM.
Example: Great Deal: Purchase the current Journal Sunday paper for only $2.00 OR for an additional 10 cents more, purchase the current Journal Sunday paper and access the current Journal Sunday digital edition for only $2.10.
(Since the print and digital edition was 5 percent greater than the print-only single-copy purchase option, if the consumer purchased the Sunday single-copy print and digital option, then both the print and digital Journal Sunday paper could be counted as paid single copy and paid digital single issue.
- Single Copy All Inclusive Print and Digital Edition Pricing
If incremental pricing is not executed, digital editions must be accessed by the purchaser. Only issues actually accessed by single-copy purchasers are eligible to be classified as paid circulation. For the audit, documents supporting the quantity of unique accesses for the single issue must be retained and available for review by AAM. Digital circulation may be excluded from AAM reporting if publishers are unable to provide documents to support access.
Example: Great Deal: Purchase the current Journal Sunday paper and access the current Journal Sunday digital edition for only $2.10.
(Since this single-copy offer was not incrementally priced, the purchased Sunday single-copy print edition may be counted as paid single copy. However, digital could only be counted as paid digital issue is the consumer actually accessed the digital edition and records were maintained to prove access for the audit.)
- Single Copy Incremental Pricing
Digital single issues presented to consumers as free, no additional cost, no extra charge, complimentary or other synonymous language, are eligible as qualified single issues if the following requirements are met:
- The recipient accesses the digital single issue. Only issues actually accessed are eligible to be classified as qualified circulation. For the audit, AAM must confirm the purchaser’s access. Digital circulation may be excluded from AAM reporting if publishers are unable to provide documents to support subscriber access.
- See AAM rules C 3.3 Other Qualified Distribution and C 5.10 Subscriptions Involving Digital Editions.
Access to limited articles of a restricted-access website (metered-model) cannot be considered qualified circulation since the entire newspaper is not available for viewing. Once the consumer exceeds the limit and pays for access, the circulation is eligible to be classified as paid single copy as outlined in stand-alone and bundled sales.
Payment for digital single issues may be obtained from a third party. However, AAM’s qualification review and audit processes won’t govern or consider financial transactions. The copies are still classified as qualified single issues for AAM reporting purposes.